After LeBron James signed with the Los Angeles Lakers, the next domino to fall before the start of the next NBA season is what’s going on with Kawhi Leonard?
With the Lakers now playing the long-term game, all signs point to them not making a move for Leonard until next summer when he is a free agent. With that said, we have a new frontrunner for the rental services of Leonard.
The Toronto Raptors are emerging as a likely destination for the Spurs star, according to ESPN’s Brian Windhorst.
The team previously had been an afterthought in trade rumors involving Leonard. The Lakers and the 76ers, who had previously been linked to Leonard, have lost interest in a potential trade, clearing the way for Toronto to swoop in, Windhorst indicated on the Lowe Post podcast.
.@WindhorstESPN says don't count out Kawhi to the Raptors.
— SportsCenter (@SportsCenter) July 17, 2018
“I think they’re in the driver’s seat for Kawhi because I think the Lakers have given up, the Sixers have given up,” he said. “And with the Nets, Bulls, and Hawks spending their cap space, it makes it harder to assemble a multi-team trade. I think the Raptors are in the driver’s seat.”
According to Bleacher Report, All-Star shooting guard DeMar DeRozan would most likely be headed to San Antonio as part of any deal for Kawhi, in addition to young assets such as OG Anunoby and Jakob Poeltl, as well as a future draft pick(s).
Leonard, 27, has one year remaining on his contract, meaning any team willing to trade for him would likely need to be assured ahead of time that he’d sign a contract extension. The Spurs would best be served to trade Leonard out of the Western Conference but either way the Spurs, and Kawhi have got to move past each other, sooner rather than later.